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Kenya launches national TB prevalence survey

09 July 2015, 22:01

Nairobi - The Kenyan ministry of health and development partners on Thursday launched a 10-month national survey to ascertain tuberculosis (TB) prevalence.

Officials said the second tuberculosis survey in Kenya since independence will strengthen biomedical, policy and funding interventions to the fourth leading cause of deaths among adults.

"The Kenya tuberculosis survey 2015-2016 will help us obtain an accurate picture of the disease burden and inform establishment of targeted interventions to reduce new infections and deaths," Nicholas Muraguri, Director of Medical Services at the ministry said during the launch in Nairobi.

Kenya is ranked 15th among the 22 high TB-burden countries globally. Muraguri noted that TB is a leading public health challenge that is to blame for high mortality, poverty and social exclusion in the country.

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"Since 1990, the absolute number of TB cases has increased tenfold. In 2014, Kenya recorded 90,000 TB cases, mostly in the urban slums where overcrowding and poor hygienic practices fuel infections," Muraguri remarked

Kenya aims to achieve the global target of reducing TB infections and deaths by 80 percent. Muraguri noted the survey will re-energize the fight against the fatal epidemic.

"The new survey will enable the government obtain accurate estimates of TB incidence across the country. It will help us retool our response to the disease,"Muraguri told reporters

Lack of accurate data, poverty, ignorance among the public and broken health infrastructure have undermined the fight against TB in Kenya. Muraguri said the government will invest in new diagnostic and treatment centers in the high burden counties. "We have developed a world class TB response program that is credited for achieving 89 percent treatment success rate that is above the global average. The government has decentralized diagnostic and treatment centers," he said.

World Health Organization Country Representative Custodia Mandlhate stressed that routine surveillance, public awareness and investment in modern diagnostic and treatment facilities will strengthen the fight against TB in Kenya.

"Kenya must re-evaluate TB interventions to focus more on data collection, timely diagnosis and treatment," said Mandlhate.

- Xinhua


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